TODAY | September 24, 2013
>>> on in vitro fertilization or ivf . dr. nancy snyderman is live in st. louis. good morning to you.
>> good morning, savannah. i'm here with the doctor to the right of me and patients in front and what we're looking at on the screen are ovaries with follicles of eggs in them and they're being harvested this morning. 30 years ago there wasn't much of an option for a fertile couple to have a baby. but boy, has technology changed. this morning, for the first time on live television , you're not only going to see eggs being retrieved from an ovary but we'll show you the fertilization process. but first, i'd like to introduce you to a couple who very graciously allowed us to be part of their experience.
>> reporter: it was a birth heard around the world.
>> the world's first test tube baby.
>> successfully conceived outside the mother's woem.
>> the year was 1978 and changed fertility issues forever. at that time the chance of achieving a pregnancy with the help of science was at 2%. but now it's much higher.
>> now we expect a 60% pregnancy rate.
>> he is an expert and pioneer in something known as ivf .
>> it's short for in vitro fertilization which simply means fertilization takes place in a laboratory dish.
>> the pregnancy will implant there.
>> reporter: 33-year-old jessica menkhausen and her fiancee derek manion are excited about having a baby together. jessica tried for nine years to have a baby and had almost given up on her dream of motherhood.
>> it took years to get over it. i was glad when we met dr. silver. he gave us so much hope.
>> hi, jessica .
>> reporter: she has been undergoing pretreatment for four weeks now injecting hormones and getting regular blood work.
>> hopefully these children know one day when we show them this how much we wanted them.
>> reporter: and today, news that the medicine has worked. jessica 's ovaries produced a large number of follicles that house the eggs that will be fertilized with derek 's sperm.
>> that count gives us an indication of how many egs you're going to have. it's a huge count.
>> reporter: the couple put off wedding plans for next year citing the cost of ivf which is 12 to 17,000 which isn't covered by insurance.
>> we're borrowing to do this. it's amazing what science can do now and how it can help us out in conceiving.
>> reporter: it's an all or nothing gamble for jessica and derek who are spending their savings on what for them is a once in a lifetime chance on parenthood.
>> we're terrified on spending this amount of money and it not working. if it doesn't, we'll be sharing that heart break together but it will be heartbreaking.
>> reporter: they can't afford to do it again but remain hopeful about the outcome.
>> i want to be positive and i think we're going to have twins and they're going to have red hair and blue eyes . that's what we have to keep thinking.
>> right now dr. silver is inserting a microneedle with a little suction into the ovary and each of the black sacks really houses an egg. they're being sucked out and being examined behind us. can you feel that, when you go in there and you're looking at that egg do you know visually exactly where you are?
>> i do and i also can feel it in answer to your questions. there is a follicle right there. we're going to go right through.
>> and the white line is the needle.
>> that is the needle and the opening, the little sack you see has an egg in it and they're really nice and big size so we're going to have good mature eggs in there.
>> you're already finding a lot of eggs. is that because she has been on stimulating hormones.
>> well, she has been on stimulating hormones but some women don't have that many eggs. it depends. she started out with a lot of eggs.
>> so this bodes well for her to have so many.
>> she has very few small follicles and those are the ones that cause patients to get sick from ivf . the way we stimulated her, we have only big follicles.
>> this is a safe procedure with these medications for jessica .
>> it is safe if done right. if not done right it could be dangerous.
>> but have to underscore that's exactly why you go to a center where ivf is not only established but doctors have been doing it for years and years so that one, you harvest healthy eggs and two it results in healthy baby and the health problems for mom are minuscule.
>> she is sedated but will there be discomfort from this procedure in the coming hours or days.
>> she is sedated. there will not be discomfort. there is a vaginal probe in here which allows us to see the ovary but it's no more different than a pelvic procedure. so she'll have minimal discomfort and watch for a little bleeding afterwards but they expect no complications. this has been going perfectly this morning.
>> i hope that continues. dr. nancy snyderman thank you so